“If I were a lion and you were a tuna”

Watch this clip from “The Other Guys” (2010) as Will Ferrell’s character schools Mark Wahlberg’s character on what would happen if a lion were to attack a tuna. Enjoy!

It’s as easy as A, B, Sea: Y for Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin tuna are the most commercially sought after of all tunas. They have a football shaped body and can reach up to 450 pounds. Which is very impressive since they can also swim up to 30 miles per hour. Yellowfin tuna prefer to swim in schools in all temperate oceans. They prefer to eat fish any fish smaller than themselves and their biggest predator tend to be sharks.

Image (c) ilovebluesea.com

12 good non-fiction books about fish

  1. Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenburg (read a review here.)
  2. Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
  3. On the Run: An Angler’s Journey Down the Striper Coast by David Dibendetto
  4. Giant Bluefin by Douglas Whynott
  5. The Last Fish Tale: The Fate of the Atlantic and Survival in Gloucester, America’s Oldest Fishing Port and Most Original Town by Mark Kurlansky
  6. The Unnatural History of the Sea by Callum Roberts
  7. Tuna: A Love Story by Robert Ellis
  8. The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America: H. Bruce Franklin
  9. The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat by Charles Clover
  10. The Empty Ocean by Richard Ellis
  11. 5 Easy Pieces: The Impact of Fisheries on Marine Ecosystems by Daniel Pauly
  12. Striper Wars: An American Fish Story by Dick Russell

Beach Chair Scientist also has list of great movies, fiction books and blogs about the sea!

Image (c) Island Press.

How do fish give birth?

There are three general ways fish in the sea give birth to a new generation.

I will start off explaining what is most familiar to us, fish that give birth to live young. This is called being viviparous. There is a structure similar to the placenta that connects the embryo to the mother’s blood supply. Some shark species are viviparous. In fact, in some shark species such as the shortfin mako, the embryo has been known to eat other eggs developed by the mother.

Next is something similar called giving birth oviviparously. This is when the embryo develops inside of an egg that is inside the mother. The difference between this and viviparity is that the embryo gets no nourishment from the mother. Nutrients are taken from within the egg. Coelacanths are a type of oviviparious fish.

Lastly, I will go over how 97% of fish species reproduce. These are the fish that lay many, many eggs and hide them in a dark corner so predators can’t get to them. This is called being oviparous. With most oviparous fish species fertilization takes place outside the body. But with many types of skates and rays (pictured right) the male will use his claspers to internally fertilize the female eggs before she lays them.

Image (c) www.gma.org

15 facts about sharks

1.) Sharks are divided into 8 orders.
2.) Sharks are again divided into 34 families.
3.) There are over 360 shark species.
4.) The largest meat eating shark is the great white shark (37 feet).
5.) The largest shark is the whale shark (and largest fish overall), a filter feeder.
6.) The second largest shark (and fish) is also a filter feeder, the basking shark.
7.) Dwarf laternfish (7 1/2 -8 inches), the spined pygmy shark (8 inches) and the pygmy ribbontail catshark (7-7 1/2/ inches) are among the smallest of the sharks.
8.) The fastest swimming fish are the mako and blue sharks which can swim upwards to 60 miles per hour.
9.) The shark with the strongest bite is the dusky shark with a jaw of 132 pounds of force.
10.) The dogfish is the most common shark species.
11.) The deepest diving fish is the Portuguese shark.
12.) The shark with the longest migration has been found to be the blue shark.
13.) Megalodon was an ancient shark that may have been 2 or 3 times as long as a great white shark.
14.) Megalodon means “giant tooth”.
15.) The fossilized teeth of a megalodon are as large as an adult’s hand.

No more fish in the sea

From Good (an on-line web magazine dedicated to enabling  individuals, businesses, and non-profits to push the world forward) an infographic detailing the decline of popular fish species in the last 50 years. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the Untied Nations calculates how many fish are left in the ocean by counting how many fish are allocated for harvesting (assuming the maximum are caught).

5 fun facts about seahorses

English: Hippocampus zosterae at the Birch Aqu...

English: Hippocampus zosterae at the Birch Aquarium, San Diego, California, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. The female lays her eggs in the male’s tummy pouch, he then incubates them for about 30 days, then they hatch.
  2. Seahorses do not have a stomach; they eat constantly to help get enough food to digest.
  3. Seahorses do not have teeth; they have a fused jaws, so they kind of suck up their food like a straw.
  4. Seahorses can be an inch to a foot more in size.
  5. Seahorse species vary in monogamy.

Do you have another great question? Check out www.beachchairscientist.com and let us know what you always ponder while digging your toes in the sand!

How can I be a responsible fisherman?

 

A lot of folks these days are interested in making certain their favorite past time jackandsawyer1of fishing is going to be around for future generations to enjoy.

Here is a short list of tactics to remain ethical, while still keeping fishing that ever intense sport of glory.

Best practices:

– Respect the space of one another while out there on the water to make it enjoyable for everyone.
– Be informed of the catch and size limits of the waters that you are fishing.
– Practice “catch” and “release” fishing techniques (see below).

The “catch” part:

– Use barbless hooks, because they reduce damage and handling time of the fish. Remove the hook gently.
– Keep the fish in the water or wet your hands if you handle the fish to unhook it.
– Don’t put your fingers in the gill covers or hold the fish by its eye sockets (!) or squeeze it too hard.
– When you do make contact with the fish make sure your hands are continuously wet. It will help to keep the animal’s natural mucus intact. The mucus protects the fish from getting infections.

The “release” part:

– Hold the fish in their normal swimming position and move them back and forth slowly to have water run across their gills.
– Revive exhausted fish by moving water through its gills. Fish that were caught kicking and screaming like a teenager going off to Sunday school use an increased rate of oxygen.

Lastly, I am a big fan of saving the best for last – the most important rule – have fun!

Photo (c) of my older brother.

 

Are stingrays related to sharks?

English: Various types shown. Taken at Mote Ma...

Image via Wikipedia

Stingrays and sharks are very closely related. They belong to a group of fishes called the elasmobranchs. All elasmobranchs have 1) skeletons made of cartilage (the flexible material that makes up the tip of our nose and ears) and 2) 5-7 gill slits. Elasmobrachs includes sharks, rays, and skates.

It’s not entirely incorrect to think of stingrays as flattened sharks. On the inside, they’re just about the same. There are some animals that blur the lines between the two. Angel sharks and wobbegongs are flat, but they’re not rays. Then there are sawfish (which are rays) and sawsharks (which are sharks). Sharkrays are just plain confused. As a general rule, if the gill slits are on the bottom, it’s a ray. If they’re on the side, it’s a shark.

Jim Wharton
Vice President, Education Division, Director, Center for School and Public Programs, Mote Marine Laboratory

Do you have another great question? Email info@beachchairscientist.com!

How do fish float?

wikifishblutangThere are a few different answers – depending on what type of fish we are asking about.

The most sophisticated types of fishes – bony fishes – have a swim bladder. These fish can inflate their swim bladder with gas from a special gas gland. The gas is basically oxygen from the fish’s blood. Bony fishes that spend most of their lives on the bottom of the ocean floor (e.g., flounder) don’t have a strong swim bladder – therefore, don’t float.

Sharks, skates, and rays are all types of fish. However, these fishes are more primitive – lacking bones. They stay afloat with a liver filled with oil. They use long pectoral fins for balance in mid-waters while maintaining a light framework. The ‘light framework’ is made up of cartilage (the same material found in our nose and ears).

Image (c) wiki-fish.com. (Yellow Tang – a true bony fish)

Do you have another great question? Email info@beachchairscientist.com.